The recent drug overdose death of Glee actor Cory Monteith, put the spotlight on drug and alcohol abuse and joining Deb Gordon to discuss the issue was Howard Meitiner, President and CEO of Phoenix House, which is one of our nation’s oldest and leading drug and alcohol abuse treatment organizations for teens and adults.
Mr. Meitiner discussed the state of drug abuse in America, which he described as being in crisis, especially due to the increase in prescription pill usage, that is leading to a resurgence of heroin use. Mr. Meitiner provided data about drug and alcohol abuse including the fact that 17 million people binge drink; 50% of high school students have recently used illicit drugs; and 1 in 4 families are touched by addiction.
Mr. Meitiner informed the audience about the organization’s efforts to provide more resources to those suffering from addiction and advocate on behalf of treatment policies. He also described the challenges of treating people today who have more complex issues and disorders, which Phoenix House has had to adapt to. Phoenix House also focuses on the causes of addiction and offers a variety of alternative programs for young people to help instill new behaviors and help curb the cycle. Mr. Meitiner stressed the need for the issue of drug abuse to become part of everyday dialogue and normal public conversation; and discussed the importance of providing employment and housing to those in recovery to allow them the chance to make a difference in their lives and in the community.